JAZZTIMES – JAN / FEB 1993
This contemporary jazz release, The Survivor, is a rich amalgam of percussionist-pianist Alphonse Mouzon’s compositions and a list of guests with strong musical identities. There’s no mistaking the sound of George Howard’s soprano sax on the opening track, “Games People Play,” or tenor man Ernie Watts on “Anticipation.” Lee Ritenour delivers exceptional acoustic guitar work on “All That Jazz” and “In Hot Pursuit,” as does The Rippingtons’ Russ Freeman on “Feeling Good” and “Two Lonely Hearts.”
Also guesting are tenor saxophonist Kirk Whalum (“It’s Not Over Yet”) plus Brandon Fields on alto, Richard Elliot on tenor, Gary Meek on soprano, and Welton Gite on bass and vocalist Philip Ingram, brother of James. The album is a showcase for Mouzon’s considerable versatility in playing, composing and arranging. That, coupled with the impressive guest roster, is sure to sate contemporary jazz fans.
On the amazingly structured title cut, Mouzon plays everything – acoustic and electric pianos, synthesizer and digital percussion.
CD REVIEWS – NOV / DEC 1992
Drummer Alphonse Mouzon’s latest release, The Survivor on his own label Tenacious Records brings back his hard driving percussion sounds to an album that has been in the works for some time. Multi-talented Mouzon does it all. All eleven cuts are composed and arranged by Mouzon that include his talents on the Steinway grand piano, synthesizers, drums and/or percussion. Good friend Mouzon also brings together some equally talented artists including guitarists, Lee Ritenour and Russ Freeman, saxophonists, George Howard, Ernie Watts, Kirk Whalum, Richard Elliot, Brandon Fields and Gary Meek with Welton Gite on electric bass and background vocals which include Philip Ingram (James’ brother). Mouzon relies on his familiar back-beat to keep this up-tempo album moving along.
THE GAVIN REPORT – NOV 27, 1992
Alphonse Mouzon is one “tenacious” son of a gun. The Survivor’s been three years in the making, and it’s easy to trace its fast ascent top-ten-ward. Having followed Mouzon’s performances since his fusionary days with Larry Coryell’s Eleventh House, I feel it’s safe to say that he’s always one to pull out the stops. Mouzon is one of the rare ones able to channel fusion’s energy into nineties melody. If The Survivor is one thing, it’s a ride that combines the ingredients of Jazz, funk and AA into easy and (judging from the radio response) essential programming. Despite all of the all-stars aboard, some of my favorites feature Mouzon on everything. The title track is an example as is the opening “Games People Play” (with George Howard) and “Anticipation” (with Ernie Watts). I have a feeling there are a lot of blood, sweat and tears between the song titles’ lines. What’s funny is that none of the songs feel particularly angst-ridden or overly urgent.
DISCoveries – MAY 1993
First class recording, featuring a diverse and interesting line-up of jazz guest stars. Notables such as Lee Ritenour on guitar, Brandon Fields on alto sax, Russ Freeman on acoustic guitar, and many others work together to help Mouzon create a wonderful, joyous celebration of life through jazz. Extremely well recorded, the sound just pops out of the speakers and fills the house.
JAZZ ARTS FOUNDATION – JAN / FEB 1994 (Condensed)
Now on his own label, Tenacious Records, Alphonse Mouzon returns with The Survivor, a title appropriate to this musician’s life and musical experiences. CD liner notes bring home this man’s accomplishments in music and in life.
Mouzon showcases his keyboard, synthesizer, and drumming talents as well as producing, writing, and arranging all of the material on this new release.
The overall feel of the recording is upbeat, breezy, and identifiable as uniquely Mouzon’s.
For those that have followed Alphonse Mouzon’s career, this new release represents his coming full circle and landing squarely on his musical feet. Should you be unfamiliar with this vital jazz musician to date, get to know Alphonse Mouzon with The Survivor.
RAPPORT -1992 ( “Four Star Rating”)
For several years now Mouzon has been at the top of the heap of fusion jazz stars what with composing some outstanding instrumentals which have driven his albums to best-sellerdom. Six years ago, Mouzon produced Love Fantasy in which one of the most beautiful instrumentals “Your Eyes Are Beautiful” was included. Now, he’s back with an exceptionally fine array of new creations and teamed with him are a lot of headliners in their own right including Brandon Fields who helped make that earlier album so successful. Fields is certainly one of the most lyrical alto sax players ever to be heard on record.
There are so many fine tunes here that picking any of them out is a disservice to those not mentioned. “Two Lonely Hearts” packs everything in – a wonderful sax solo by Richard Elliot, Russ Freeman on acoustic guitar and Welton Gite on electric bass, and background vocals to boot; “All That Jazz” is a cheery up-tempo swing tune with Fields called on to do major duty; Lee Ritenour on acoustic guitar delivers a top-notch solo that generates enthusiasm for the piece. The title tune, “The Survivor”, is a tribute to Mouzon’s talents as well as to the electronic music age: the guy is all over this tune, a soloist using all kinds of instrumental sounds via this synthesized setup. On “Soft and Gentle”, it’s Fields again backed with vocals to make the whole thing pay off. For those who’ve never heard Alphonse Mouzon before, catch this one at the very least. You’ll then be buying the others.
LA PRENSA de los Angeles – OCT 1993 (IN SPANISH)
Finalmente suge en 1992 el album The Survivor, grabado para su propia etiqueta Tenacious Records. Este compacio, en le que colaboran Lee Ritenour, Ernie Watts, Kirk Whalum y Russ Freeman entre otros, culmina su carrera de grabaciones alcanzado la lista de los diez mejores de Billboard, The Gavin Report y radio en jazz contemporary.